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Google Voice Calls Remain Free in 2013
If you're a fan of free voice calling, Google's got your back—the search giant said Wednesday that free Google Voice calls via Gmail will be extended through 2013.
Gmail-powered voice and video chat, available for download from Google, will remain free in the U.S. and Canada through next year, the company said on its official blog.
Gmail users in several other countries can also use Google Voice to make international voice calls at heavily discounted rates, Google said. Callers in India, for example, get a 2-cents-per-minute rate, compared with 9-cents-per-minute from the country's leading Internet telephony provider, according to the search giant.
Other countries serviced by Google Voice getting half-price or better on rates from local Internet telephony providers include France (10-cents-per-minute), Germany (10-cents-per-minute), and Mexico (15-cents-per-minute).
International callers will want to keep in mind that Google adds local tariffs like value-added taxes to the price of Google Voice purchases made online.
As PCMag sister site Geek.com noted, Google Voice is "not without flaws," like service disruptions and occasional poor transmission quality, which, when added up, probably explain why the company is maintaining free and low prices for the service for another year.
Google earlier this year said it would charge for its phone service if quality was improved, so the extension of free Google Voice could be a sign that this hasn't happened yet, according to Geek.com. Other similar voice and video services—notably Microsoft's Skype—have a lot more presence in the market, so that could be another rationale for keeping Google Voice free in the U.S. and Canada, and low-cost elsewhere.
At times, Google has appeared confused about what to do with Google Voice. The search giant pulled its Google Voice app for the iPhone from Apple's App Store in October 2011, but restored it about a week later. ebook converter
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